We all know the Bible should be the central and most important part of any teaching we do with students. When you sit down to study the passage you plan to use for a sermon or Bible study, here are three things to remember to gain a better understanding of the truth contained in your particular passage from God’s word.
Know Where The Scripture Passage Fits From A Historical Standpoint.
I like to think of the Bible in four historical categories: before the Old Testament covenant, during the Old Testament covenant, the transition time when Jesus was on Earth, and the time of the New Covenant after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Knowing where the passage fits in those four time periods helps us show students the distinctions between the Old and New Covenants. It also helps us in applying the Bible to our lives, seeing the Old Testament through the lens of Christ and God’s greater plan for us, His children.
Know Who Is Speaking In The Passage.
Yes, all Scripture is inspired by God but it helps me to know who is speaking in the passage. Is it Jesus speaking? Or God speaking through someone like Moses or David? Is the passage from the teachings of Paul or Peter? And so on. When we gain a better understanding of the writers of passages in the Bible, we gain a better understanding of the truth that is being taught.
Find Out Who Is The Primary Audience For The Passage.
It’s possible to distort the truth of a passage if we fail to find out whom the writer is speaking to. In the Old Testament the three primary audiences are Jews who are following God’s laws, Jews who are disobeying God’s laws, and non-believers or pagans. The audiences in the New Testament is a little more varied, but can almost always be boiled down to those who believe in Jesus as the Way, those who are seeking, and those who don’t believe. Make sure you have a clear understanding of who is being spoken to in a passage and help your students understand why that distinction is important.
By taking the time to do a proper exegesis of a verse or passage we as student leaders can greatly increase our knowledge of the Bible.
At the same time you will be helping your students gain a better understanding of what they are reading and hopefully encourage them to learn how to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).